Day At The Track

Top Illinois-breds show off at Illinois State Fair

08:40 AM 26 Aug 2019 NZST
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Meyer Of Fire, harness racing
Meyer Of Fire and driver Kyle Husted winning at Springfield
Four Footed photo

SPRINGFIELD, IL - Beautiful weather, big crowds, and great harness racing led to record handle figures at the recently completed state fair in Springfield.

The four day Springfield fair saw handle numbers easily surpass prior years to the tune of a nearly $200,000 increase in handle off last year's races. DuQuoin unfortunately was a washout, but all 25 DuQuoin events are being brought to Hawthorne on August 30.

The Illinois State Fair at Springfield saw the first two days of eliminations as Illinois-bred two-year-old and three-year-old trotters and pacers positioned themselves for the week two finals.

While the youngsters raced through eliminations, it was an older state-bred pacer who stole the show on day two. The Brett Wilfong trained You'remyhearthrob paced a huge mile to a career best mark of 1:49/4 for driver Kyle Wilfong, posting the only sub-1:50 of the racing week.

While You'remyhearthrob's time was fast, career marks were set for the winner of each of the 12 races on Championship day. The first of the eight finals was for two-year-old trotting fillies as a pair of Steve Searle trainees would finish 1-2 in the $32,500 event. Leading the way was Bee See for driver Kyle Husted, winning in 1:56.2 over Lous Abigail. Lauren Hall went on to finish third. Bee See is owned by Molly Baldes, Michael Paloma, Chris Paloma, and trainer Steve Searle.

Two-year-old filly pacers followed next for $32,500 as another upset took place. This time it was Kyle Wilfong guiding home the Erv Miller trained Sleazy Gal in 1:54.1. She was a length ahead of Ashlees Fine Girl while Amazon Princess finished third. Sleazy Gal was the first of two winners on the day for Engel Stable of IL, LLC.

Next up were two-year-old colt and gelding trotters in the $32,500 final. Another upset was in store as Ridge Warren drove On Higher Ground to a length and a quarter score over favored Fox Valley Quest. Desert Sheik would finish third as Mike Brink trained the winner and third-place finisher. On Higher Ground won in 1:55.1 for owner Bill Wright and trainer Mike Brink.

Juvenile colt and gelding pacers faced off in the next $32,500 final as a favorite was able to get the job done. The win came for Fox Valley Ren as Kyle Wilfong grabbed his second finals win, this time for trainer Nelson Willis. Fox Valley Ren won in 1:52.3, a neck ahead of Rg's Tracer as Western Perch was third. Fox Valley Ren is owned by Megan Rogers Racing Stables Inc.

Three-year-old filly trotters followed as trainer Steve Searle and driver Kyle Husted grabbed their second finals win. The win came with another favorite as 1-5 shot Louzotic didn't disappoint. A two-length winner, Louzotic was followed by Heidi High and Joe Joes Violet, winning in 1:54.3. Louzotic is owned by Flacco Family Farms LLC.

Favorites strung together three wins in a row in the $31,500 final for three-year-old colt and gelding trotters. The win came from Lousraptor as he won impressively by four-lengths for driver Casey Leonard and trainer Roshun Trigg. The win in 1:54.4 came over Lourhianon, who was followed by Prince Cassis. Lousraptor was the second finals score for owners Flacco Family Farms LLC.

Three-year-old filly pacers competed for $31,500 and led back to an upset and also the third finals win on the day for the fair's leading driver Kyle Wilfong. Wilfong was able to work out a trip from the outside with Jay Garrels trained Perch, rallying to win by a length and a quarter. The speedy 1:51.1 time was good enough to best Fox Valley Torrid and Fox Valley Halsey. Perch is owned by Jay Garrels, Susan Garrels, and Del Insko Training Stable, Inc.

The championship card concluded with three-year-old colt and gelding pacers in the $31,500 final as Kyle Husted grabbed his third finals win on the card. This win came impressively as Husted drove home Meyer on Fire to a two and a half-length score over Fox Valley Triton and Maximus. The win was in 1:51.2 and was the second finals win on the card for owner Engel Stable of IL LLC.

With less than a month before Night of Champions at Hawthorne Race Course, many of these winners will be looking to position themselves for their best effort of the year in the state's biggest night of harness racing

Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for live harness racing on Friday, May 3. The summer harness meet opened on Friday, May 3 and races through September 22. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 10 through December 28. For more information, visit or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700.

by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course

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